More Than a Number
When Jordan first retired in 1993, the Bulls retired his number. No. 23 remained available for players on other teams, however, since the NBA had no tradition of retiring jersey numbers, as has happened in the NHL and MLB. In 1995, Jordan returned to play for the Bulls after a stint playing baseball. Initially, he refused to wear No. 23 again and played wearing No. 45. That changed later in the season, when he abruptly switched back to No. 23 in the middle of the playoffs. Bulls coach Phil Jackson speculated the move was prompted by comments that Jordan wasn't as good wearing 45 as he had been when we was wearing 23.